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Planning Board votes to rezone property on Bringle Ferry Road

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Planning Board voted Tuesday to rezone four lots from urban residential to corridor mixed-use — a zoning that allows for commercial development — in the 400 block of Bringle Ferry Road.

The four lots came before the board’s consideration because J&J Tire and Auto Center owner Joel Flores wants to expand his auto repair business, located at 401 Bringle Ferry Road, and open a car dealership on the adjacent lots.

But city Planning and Development Manager Preston Mitchell told members of the board Tuesday night that they need to think beyond what Flores wants to do with the properties.

“Because he could, if this gets rezoned, walk away,” Mitchell said. “And then, if the property is zoned (mixed-use), whoever buys it could come in and do whatever is allowed within the zone.”

Corridor mixed-use zoning allows for construction of all types of buildings, with the exception of some housing.

Mitchell said the zoning already is present in the area around Flores’ business, particularly across Bringle Ferry Road.

Mitchell said the board should also take into consideration the Park Avenue Historic District, which is on the other side of North Shaver Street from Flores’ business.

The four lots that Flores wanted rezoned —405 Bringle Ferry Road, 424 E. Lafayette St. and two unnumbered lots — are on the “far outer edge” of the Park Avenue Historic District, Mitchell said.

There are also three other lots — all residential — on the block with Flores’ auto repair business, he said.

Two of the lots, 430 E. Lafayette St. and 714 N. Shaver St., are owned by the same person. Mitchell said preliminary research shows they are tenant-occupied. The third lot, 437 Bringle Ferry Road, appears to be owner-occupied, he said.

Mitchell said he did not think that the rezoning of the four lots would “jeopardize the public health, safety and welfare” of the Park Avenue neighborhood, but he said it would likely put pressure on properties surrounding Flores’ business to convert to corridor mixed-use in the future.

“But does that necessarily mean that’s a detriment or dangerous for the remaining portion of Park Avenue neighborhood? (I) would say no,” Mitchell said.

Aside from the ramifications to the historic district, he said, rezoning the four lots would encourage redevelopment in an older industrial area, which Mitchell said the city’s 2020 Plan encourages.

“I think that’s something we should continue to encourage and continue to allow those types of investments, these little cottage investments like this,” Mitchell said.

After verifying that Mitchell has received no negative feedback about the project, Planning Board members voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council approve the rezoning.

The matter is scheduled to come before council at its Feb. 6 meeting.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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